Manchester, NH — The Manchester Young Professionals Network (MYPN) and Alpha Loft are partnering to host the New Hampshire Startup Challenge kick-off and the first Hoopla networking event on

Thursday, Feb. 26 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Alpha Loft in downtown Manchester as part of Entrepreneurship Week in New Hampshire.

Governor Maggie Hassan will join the event to help promote the state’s first Entrepreneurship Week, established to support the growing entrepreneurial environment in the state.
MYPN is kicking off its seventh annual NH Startup Challenge where one NH start-up will have the chance to win a prize package of cash and in-kind services worth up to $55,000 to help build their business.
Alpha Loft will host its very first monthly event, dubbed ‘Hoopla’. Alpha Lofts’ Hoopla is open to all entrepreneurs, creative and technology enthusiasts and is an open, casual gathering place to socialize. No stress. No fuss. Just a lot of Hoopla!
“This is our seventh year that MYPN has hosted the Startup Challenge and we are excited to have the support of Governor Hassan as we kick things off this year,” said Tim Paradis, Startup Challenge Chair and MYPN Board Member.
“It’s been a great opportunity for MYPN and the Startup Challenge to host our event as part of National Entrepreneurship Week, and in doing so, we are able to recognize how important start-ups and entrepreneurs are to our state.”
“We have been fortunate for the support of so many great businesses, like Alpha Loft, and believe that this competition is a great resource for the state’s start-ups to gain traction and hopefully a strong foundation for success,” said Paradis.
“Each year the start-ups that enter are more competitive. We look forward to learning about all of the businesses and entrepreneurs who will enter this year,” he added.
“One exciting addition to this year’s NH Startup Challenge is a new $3,500 People’s Choice Award where the competition’s followers will have the chance to vote on their favorite business plan at the final event in June. The People’s Choice Award will be in addition to the grand prize winner who will take home a prize valued at more than $55,000,” continued Paradis.
“This is a great opportunity to showcase the great entrepreneurial spirit in New Hampshire”, said Mark Kaplan, CEO, Alpha Loft.
“In addition to our new Hoopla event, we’re proud to recognize the founders and team members accepted into the first class of Accelerate NH, the state’s first accelerator program which is just beginning.”
For more information on the NH Start Up Challenge and to register for the Feb 26th event visit,  For more information on Alpha Loft, Accelerate NH, visit
Both the NH Startup Challenge and Hoopla are free and open to the public.
About the Startup Challenge:
The MYPN New Hampshire Startup Challenge was created in 2009 by the Manchester Young Professionals Network, the first and largest young professional organization in New Hampshire. Since that time, over $210,000 in cash and in-kind services have been awarded to New Hampshire start-ups.
Applicants submit their ideas to an esteemed panel of judges (past judges have included prominent investment bankers, venture capitalists, high-tech experts and leaders of non-profit organizations). Up to six semi-finalists are invited to pitch their ideas to a packed house at Alpha Loft in Manchester. These semi-finalists will then go through a rigorous and competitive review process. Ultimately, one winner chosen to receive a  prize package of cash and in-kind services worth up to $55,000 from Manchester-area businesses.
About MYPN:
The Manchester Young Professionals Network (MYPN) aims to create business and social opportunities, support professional development and welcome new and existing young professionals to the Manchester, NH community. MYPN was New Hampshire’s first young professionals’ networking organization, established in 2004.
MYPN supports nearly 3,000 young professionals as they expand their contact base, develop professional skills, promote themselves and their business and gain access to community leaders in relaxed settings. Providing young professionals who live and/or work in the Manchester area with opportunities to network with other talented and driven individuals is an important goal of our organization.
About Alpha Loft: 
Alpha Loft is dedicated to accelerating the development of early-stage, scalable businesses, commercializing the intellectual capital developed at UNH and other leading educational institutions, and creating sustainable employment opportunities in the state of New Hampshire.  Alpha Loft supports and provides resources to entrepreneurs, improving their prospects for successfully launching and scaling innovation-based businesses. Alpha Loft’s success means a strong entrepreneurial culture in NH, creating companies and high quality jobs. In addition to high value programming, events, advice, and mentoring, Alpha Loft has locations in Durham, Portsmouth, and Manchester where entrepreneurs can start and build their companies